Joy Through Testing
We have joy because of the person of Christ. Jesus understands how we feel in the trials we go through.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? You doin’ alright today? Oh I trust so, bless your heart. Yes, I wait for you to answer, you know that. I’m interested in how you are and how things are going at your house.
And I pray that God may bless these moments to you to help, and to inform, and to inspire, and to encourage. May His love come across warmly. May His truth be clear. And may the will of God be made real to you. And may the life be better because we’ve had this time together. May God answer that prayer.
Alright, we’re in first Peter, you and I. This is your friend Bob Cook. And I try to put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself. So let’s look, shall we? “You who are kept by the power of God through faith, unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” That’s the verse we were looking at when time ran out on us the last time we got together.
And the key word in that whole concept of being kept is faith, isn’t it? Through faith. What is faith? It’s committing this situation, risking this situation on God. “You are kept,” he said, “through faith unto salvation, ready to be.” Now God has His plans laid. Your weakness, and my failures and shortcomings are not going to change God’s plans.
But as we commit ourselves to the living Lord Jesus who died for us and rose again, satisfied the Law of God, and paid the penalty for our sins, as we commit ourselves to Him in faith and in complete trust, salvation is being worked out through our lives. And the culmination of it will be that glad day when we see Him face to face.
Now the next word in, in verse 6 is ‘wherein’. And that modifies ‘salvation’. “Kept by the power of God through faith onto salvation…wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” That’d be our word ‘testings’. In order “That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love…”
Now, let’s look at this phrase by phrase, shall we? He said, “Wherein,” – and that means ‘in the salvation’ – in God’s salvation that you and I have experienced through the Lord Jesus Christ, he said, “ye greatly rejoice.” The joy of salvation – the Bible is full of that. “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” The joy of the Lord is your strength. Jesus spoke of His joy. “These things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
Paul wrote in Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you, fill you that is, with all joy and peace, in believing that you may abound in hope through the Holy Ghost. And Paul writing to the people at Galatia says in Galatians 5:30 – 5:22 it is, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”
So many different places there you have the concept of God’s joy in your life. Now joy is different from happiness, as you know. Happiness depends on circumstances, joy depends on a person. Happiness depends on circumstances that happen, joy is related to a person upon whom you depend.
Your son grows up, graduates from High School, and goes away to college. And he chooses – as so often is the case – a college that is many miles removed from his home. It does seem that when the birds fly out of the nest as they say, they do try to fly a little farther away than mother and dad would like. But there it is. And so, he’s enrolled in a college let us say a thousand miles from home. You don’t see him anymore. He doesn’t call up unless he needs money.
But you know he’s doing well, and you talk about him to someone, and, and who asks you, “Well, how’s your boy doing?” “Oh,” you say, “he’s the joy of my life!” You haven’t seen him in weeks, you haven’t talked to him much. But you know he’s doing well and you, you, you realize that he’s, that he’s succeeding where he is. He’s properly related to you in other words, in his attitudes, and his conduct is all right. And so you say, “He’s the joy of my life!” Now what do you mean? Well, there is a relationship between father and son that brings joy.
Not just ha-, you’re not happy to have him away from home. But you’re, you, he’s your joy. Why? Well, because you love him, because you wish him well, because you’re glad he’s succeeding, because he brings honor to your name. As you say that, “He’s the joy to me,” your neighbor will probably say, “Well Charlie, he is a credit to your name.” See?
Right, then now that’s what, that’s what Peter is talking about here. “Joy wherein ye greatly rejoice.” The joy of salvation is based upon our relationship with a blessed wonderful person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now the Bible is a realistic book, and he goes on to say, Peter does, “Though now for a season if need be ye are in heaviness…” Now heaviness is our idea of discouragement, or being, being downcast – having the blues in other words. You’re in heaviness through manifold testings.
The Bible is realistic. God does not expect you to kid yourself and just say that everything is wonderful when in fact it may not be, you know. Children of Israel were discouraged when they went along. It was difficult. They journeyed from Mount Sinai by the way of the Red Sea. And the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. In Nehemiah, Judas said, “The strength of the burdens, bearers of burdens is decayed and there’s much rubbish. So we’re not able to build the wall.” Discouraged.
The Psalmist’s said, “As for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped.” And then there’s discouragement because things don’t happen on, on your schedule – they don’t happen in time. Proverbs 13 says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. Now when the desire cometh it is a tree of life.” Discouragement.
Elijah’s a case in point, isn’t he? He had that wonderful camp meeting there on the top of the mountain. The fire of God came down and consumed the sacrifice. And after a period of extended prayer on Elijah’s part, the clouds came up and rain was on its way. Elijah ran in front of the king’s chariot a good many miles down the, the mountainside to the nearest city. And when he got finally to the capital city, he heard the news that Jezebel had vowed to kill him – Elijah.
Well that did him in. And so it said he rose and went for his life. And he went out into the wilderness, sat down under a juniper tree and said, “Lord, you better kill me. It’s time for me to die now. You know I’m the only one that’s left, and you better kill me.” He was so discouraged. Well God fed him and rested him, and gave him a new commission, and sent him back with a new touch. And that’s always the way to cure discouragement, by the way. Rest, and nourishment, and a new touch from God – you’d be surprised how different the world will look.
But the Bible’s realistic. And Peter says, “I know you’re discouraged. You’re in heaviness,” it says, “through manifold testings.” Don’t kid yourself that you’re always supposed to be just smiling and laughing, and everything is coming up roses. I’ve dealt so often with young people who came to the college. And they would come in to my office and they’d say, “Well, I don’t think I’m a very good Christian. I’m supposed to be joyful all the time, but I’m so discouraged. And this, and this, and this has happened, and I’m so down. And I know I’m not a good Christian because I, I shouldn’t feel bad about this.”
Well I would have to remind them that they’re still human beings, and they’re still subject to feelings. And so God knows that. He knows that you’re human. He, “He knows the way that I take,” the Bible says. “Casting all your care,” – that’s, that’s your feelings – “on Him for He careth for you. The Lord is not unmindful to forget your work and labor of love that you have showed toward His name. God cares about what you have done, God cares about how you feel.”
“We have a high priest,” says the writer to the Hebrews, “We have a high priest that can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities.” That goes a good deal further than any of your nearest friends. You’re suffering and, and you’re in the hospital, and somebody comes along and says, “Well, cheer up.” And you think to yourself, “Yeah, he doesn’t know how I feel.” And you’re right. How can he. He doesn’t live inside of your skin.
But the Lord Jesus took on a human body, and He knows how we feel. Says He’s touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Now see, that’s the background of, of this remark here, “Now for a season you’re in heaviness through manifold testings.” God knows when you’re down. Don’t try to fool Him or yourself. Admit it. Tell Him about it, and let Him change your mood by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
This goes not only for discouragement, but also for anger. I’ve been in situations when I was good and angry. And I, I knew I couldn’t live with it you know, for very long. And so I’d get down on my knees and, and call on God. And by and by I would feel the, the steam going out of the pressure cooker. And this happened one time when I went to bed just as mad as I could be. I’d been in a meeting when, from my point of view at least, I’d been abused. And the, the chairman took out after me.
And I came home angry. Went to bed that way, and woke up the same way about five in the morning. So I went and sought the Lord, opened the, the Word, read it and prayed some. And by and by God changed my mood. He can manage your feelings – I know this. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there. God can manage your feelings. So let Him. “Now for a season if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold testings.”
If you’re going through the wringer, beloved, God doesn’t expect you to try to, to con-, kid Him or convince yourself that everything’s wonderful. The Bible is full of complaints that were uttered by saints. Complaints by saints – yes, it’s there. But the Bible is also full of the record of a change that came about in the lives and hearts and attitudes of those same saints when they turned the matter over to God.
You commit your feelings to God and He’ll change them, and change you in the situation. No he says, “You’re in heaviness through manifold testings in order that…” – see here’s a little Greek word, purpose word, hena, once again – in order that the “trial of your faith,” – now let’s take out the modifiers and get the heart of it – “that the trial of your faith might be found onto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
What’s the purpose of the trials? That when He comes, you’re going to shine more brightly – it’s that simple. The purpose of the trials is that when He comes, you’re going to shine more brightly .Now let’s look at the verse. “That the trial of your faith being more precious than of gold that perisheth.” Now take the, the, the, the phrase ‘gold perisheth’. How long does gold last? Well, quite a long time. But it’s not eternal. It does, like the rest of this material world, pass away. Gold perishes. How do we refine it? We refine it with fire.
“The, the trial of your faith, much precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire.” How do we, how do we refine gold, this precious metal? We do it with fire. Amy Carmichael told of the refiner in the native bazaar in, in India who said to nobody in particular as he knelt before his charcoal fire with the molten gold in the brazier. He said, “It’s finished.”
And they asked him how he knew. He said, “When I can see my face reflected in it, I know it’s pure.” And God waits for you and for me to reflect His glory. Why don’t we get at this the next time we get together?
Dear Father, today shine us up even through trials, so we reflect Thy glory when Jesus comes. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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